BOUNDARIES: A Minimum Maximum approach to total wellness
Imagine renting a house without doors or windows. I wonder how long it would take before you felt uneasy about it. Eventually… you might imagine…at some point…some undesirable effects may results from this lack of protection. Boundaries in your life are the windows and doors to your home.
I think it can be helpful to establish boundaries in terms of minimums and/or maximums. For instance, you may have a boundary that states you will work out three times per week at a minimum. The minimum is the boundary that defines what is considered “good enough” for your life. You can also set a maximum boundary around working out. This boundary might say that you will not work out more than five times per week – you will allow two days for rest.
The minimum and maximum boundaries protect you from patterns of perfectionism and procrastination.
If you go below your standard, you are not honoring what is important to you. If you go above your standard, it might mean you are placing unrealistic expectations on yourself. Boundaries are designed to protect you and the life that you want to live.
There are seven types of boundaries to consider:
Self-esteem boundaries protect your sense of worth. These boundaries help you feel good about you. What is the minimum you need to do to maintain self-respect? Perhaps you need to follow through on your promises, or maintain honesty in your life. What are the limits you need to set with yourself and other people to make sure your self-esteem is not compromised?
What do you need to do to protect your body? What physical limitations might you need to recognize? What standards need to be in place for you to protect your physical health? It could be that a certain minimum amount of exercise or a maximum amount of food or drink is required. It might mean you always honor regular health and dental appointments.
Energy boundaries obviously protect the amount of physical and emotional energy you have to operate from. What energy drains in your life need to be eliminated or minimized? Which energy refuelers must be present to help you maintain the energy you need for your life?
Time is a precious commodity. Without the proper time boundaries, we lose something we can never get back. What non-negotiable boundaries must be in place to protect your time? What is the maximum amount of time you will spend on a particular activity, at a specific event, or engaging in work? Time management is all about having clear boundaries.
Our space includes any environment we spend time in. We need to protect our spaces so they nourish us and enable us to live our lives optimally. Space is making sure you have your have your own “stuff” to enjoy in your environment, your own special chair, or favorite cup. Pay attention to your needs for organization, cleanliness , quiet, or beauty in your environments. How do you know when your environment is “good enough”? What does the minimum and maximum state of your environments need to look like?
Just like time, we need money to survive in this life. Your money boundaries protect your finances. What are the limits you need to set on spending and saving? What is the minimum salary you are willing to work for? Consumer debt, for instance, is the result of unidentified or compromised boundaries.
What boundaries need to be in place to protect your relationships? Our relationships are truly our greatest gift in life. How much time do we need to spend to nurture our relationships? How much intimacy do you need to feel connected? What limits do we need to set on our behavior in relationships? Boundaries help ensure our relationships remain healthy.
Boundaries are essential to helping us identify who we are, what’s important to us and how we want to live our lives. Without them, other people will decide these things for us.
*Remember, no one can make you feel angry, anxious, unworthy, fat, stupid, incompetent, devalued, or rejected WITHOUT your permission.
Write down what you need in this exercise below: